The first benefit I found is that it takes away the feeling of being excluded form a group. I remember from personal experience that it hurts when a group of students do not want you to be in their group or team out on the playground. By having the teacher evaluate students and placing those in an evenly diverse group it takes away from having students feel left out by their peers. It also gives them an opportunity to be in a setting with others they may not typically work with. The nice thing about Tribes is that, since it is a year long process, the student builds trust and friendships with those they work with in the classroom so when they are out on the playground they have a respect for each other. They are more willing to accept those who are in their Tribe when playing games just amongst themselves. They have built a comradery.
Another benefit I truly like about Tribes is that it gives students an opportunity to participate without feeling the pressures of being called on cold in front of the class. Many times students freeze up to this approach either afraid they will give the wrong answer and look foolish in front of the class or a student may have social anxiety and is still not comfortable speaking in large groups. Many times those students fall behind because the teacher senses their insecurity so doesn’t pick on them as often but then the student loses the opportunity to process and verbally share the information he has received. Tribes gives an opportunity for these students to have a voice in a smaller peer setting. They are able to contribute to the group in a secure way. You can then have a role assigned each day to have a group reporter. Even if the timid child is reporter for the day, they know it is a group task and have the support of their members before giving an answer. This gives them the confidence to report to the class without feeling as if their individual answer may be wrong. The answer they are reporting was a group effort so they’re not alone in the answer they are giving.
Children also have the option to “pass” when they don’t want to share an answer. This is a great idea! It teaches children that they have the option to pass on things they may not agree with in life. When they are out in the play ground or just amongst their peers it teaches them that it is okay to not participate in something. Many times children feel the pressure that they have to join